The West

Cyclone brings sad memories
Cyclone brings sad memories

The irony that a severe cyclone is expected to hit the Pilbara coast today does not escape Graham Moss.

It is, after all, nearly 100 years to the day since the WA football legend's great-grandfather, Cpl Frank Taylor Buttle, boarded the SS Koombana at Port Hedland amid similar anxiety that a cyclone loomed off the coast.

Despite the advice of those in port, the ship sailed and Cpl Buttle, a policeman, along with 156 other Koombana passengers and crew, was never seen again.

"I know my great-grandmother and Frank's son, my grandfather, had a hard time with it," Mr Moss said.

A weekend of events commemorating the loss had to be cancelled by the Port Hedland Historical Society yesterday as tropical cyclone Lua bore down on the Pilbara.

Mr Moss said it was an eerie reminder of what transpired on the same coast a century ago, but there was a bonus in that now the ceremony had been rescheduled, he might be able to attend.

"I had to be in Melbourne this weekend," he said. "I would love to go and pay my respects." <div class="endnote">


The West Australian

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